Academic journal article Social Justice

The Effects of Israeli Violations during the Second Uprising "Intifada" on Palestinian Health Conditions

Academic journal article Social Justice

The Effects of Israeli Violations during the Second Uprising "Intifada" on Palestinian Health Conditions

Article excerpt

Introduction

THIS ARTICLE DOCUMENTS ISRAELI VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS and humanitarian law during the second intifada, and their effects on the health situation of more than three million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The document covers a 19-month period starting with the eruption of the intifada on September 28, 2000, through April2002. The article is based on reports of such violations documented by numerous international, Israeli, and Palestinian health and human rights organizations operating in the field. The ultimate goal of this report is to present the facts, in the hope that the international community will work toward implementing international legitimacy and preventing such violations in the future.

Background

With the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 on 78% of historic Palestine, 385 Palestinian villages were destroyed and over 700,000 Palestinians were expelled to neighboring states. Following that, the West Bank and East Jerusalem came under Jordanian administration, and the Gaza Strip came under Egyptian administration. In 1967, Israel began a military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Figure 1 (located at the end of the article) depicts territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 (U.N. Cartographic Unit, 1991). Twenty years later, the first intifada -- the Palestinian grassroots movement to resist Israeli occupation -- erupted.

International efforts aiming to resolve the conflict brought an end to the intfada with the signing of the Interim Oslo Agreements and the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in 1994. According to the Oslo Agreements, the final status talks between Palestinians and Israelis should have started no later than May 1996 and reached an end to the conflict based on U.N. resolutions 242 and 338 no later than May 1999. As Figure 2 shows, the Oslo Agreements have resulted in the division of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to three kinds of areas: area A (under Palestinian security and civilian authority), area B (under Israeli security authority and Palestinian civilian authority), and area C (under Israeli security and civilian authority). Although a high percentage of the population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip lives in areas A and B, it is noteworthy that there is no territorial integrity between these areas. A Palestinian who resides in a city or village in areas A or B would need to pass through a rea C to commute to another village or city in areas A or B. The West Bank is completely cut off from East Jerusalem, which remains under complete Israeli control. Additionally, Israel still controls all the borders with the outside world, including borders with Jordan and Egypt (B'Tselem, 2001a).

The second intifada started on September 28, 2000, two months following a deadlock in the Camp David negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis on final status issues including refugees, Jerusalem, borders, and settlements. Israeli violations intensified dramatically during the Israeli reoccupation of the Palestinian-controlled refugee camps and towns in the West Bank, which started early in March 2002 and lasted for several weeks. Over 20,000 Israeli soldiers, accompanied by tanks, Apache helicopters, and F-16 warplanes, have attacked the most populous residential areas of the West Bank. The Israeli army pronounced their areas of operation to be closed military zones and ordered foreign and local media to evacuate these areas. Those who chose to stay did so under their personal responsibility. Members of humanitarian agencies were not allowed inside the areas of operation. Preliminary reports from international humanitarian organizations indicate that severe violations of humanitarian laws were committed during this period, resulting in a humanitarian crisis for Palestinian civilians. Israel's reoccupation of Palestinian-controlled areas continued in defiance of U. …

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